So you are interested in learning something about Cowboy Action Shooting!! Before offering some sources of info, a quick clarification on a couple of common acronyms you will encounter. The first is CAS which stands for Cowboy Action Shooting which is the term that covers all of the activities of this shooting sport. The second is SASS which stands for Single Action Shooting Society. SASS is the organization which manages the cowboy action shooting environment. SASS manages the rules and regulations of CAS. So where do you look for information on CAS? Here is an Intro to Cowboy Action Shooting video that gives a quick overview: Intro Video
A major recommendation is to attend a monthly match or two. Bring eye and ear protection and let folks know you are interested in learning something about Cowboy Action Shooting - you will be included. One of the major strengths of Cowboy Action Shooting is the people that are involved. Don't be shy about asking questions about what is going on if it is not clear - the cowboys/cowgirls enjoy sharing their opinions and knowledge.
Another option is to attend an Old North State Posse Cowboy Action Shooting (CAS) intro clinic. ONSP perodically offers these clinics at the Rowan County Wildlife Assoc. range. The primary focus of these intro clinics is on giving those interested a chance to experience typically match activites including shooting some simple stages. CAS intro clinics are normally listed on the ONSP Facebook site and the Carolina Cowboys web site when scheduled. Another option to actually try shooting some cowboy guns in an actual match environment can be arranged at either the Friday afternoon (usually 3 to 5pm time frame) match setup process for a monthly match or at a monthly match itself. Just let one of the ONSP Board members know you are interested. There are also handouts available at all of the matches with information sources and contact points - just ask for one from anyone holding one of the white scoring books or just print your own copy Handout.
We also suggest that you visit the SASS Website and where you can download and read the SASS Shooters Handbooks.
The following are some cowboy club sites that contain good information for those new to cowboy action shooting:
In addition, we have tried to list some of the more common questions those inquiring about Cowboy Action Shooting often ask.
Cowboy Action Shooting is one of the fastest growing action shooting sports around. In this sport, the emphasis is on fun, fellowship, and the Spirit of the Old West. Participants dress in clothing typically found in the 1800's - particularly the period between the Civil War and the end of the 19th century OR a B-Western movie character. The clothing can be as minimal or elaborate as you would like to fit your old west personna. Participants also adopt an "alias" as their identity or personna for the matches. As a member of SASS, your alias is registered and is solely yours.
The firearms used in the matches are 2 single action revolvers, a pistol caliber lever-action rifle, and either a Winchester 1897 pump, or double barrel shotgun (usually one of the coach gun styles). Most of the guns used are replicas of actual firearms from the 1800s time period. You will also need "leather" (holsters for your pistols, and cartridge belts for pistol and shotgun ammo). You will also need a gun cart for moving your equipment around the range at matches. Lots of options available here as well. ONSP also has a couple of loaner gun carts available for use until you decide what you want.
If you're going to purchase equipment, we recommend coming to see a match first. You can learn a lot by talking to experienced shooters, who are usually very willing to help. There are lots of gun choices and it is recommended to shoot some of the different types so you can find what works for you before invesing in guns. These conversations and test firing some options can keep a new shooter from buying equipment that really doesn't suit his, or her, needs.
Well... getting started does require an investment although not much different then start up costs with many new hobbies. There are lots of choices involved in the equipment and clothing needed. You can certainly spend a lot of money. But there are more moderate options as well. Again come to some matches before you start acquiring equipment.
After the initial investment, it is less expensive to participate in than a great many other hobbies.
That's an easy one... SAFETY. Safety is the paramount focus of our rules and procedures. If your firearm experience has been informal plinking or hunting, be prepared for a safety oriented approach that you probably haven't been exposed to before. Safety rules are stringently enforced, and no infraction is ignored. We are committed to keeping the game, and one another, safe and healthy.
First of all, know that you will be welcomed. Let the person handling the match registration know that it is your first Cowboy Action Shooting match. Match registration occurs at the RCWA club house prior to the match. You will be assigned to an experienced cowboy or cowgirl who will assist you in learning and complying with the expected safety and match requirements.
If you have never been a competitor in a timed shooting sport, expect to be slow and finish pretty far back in the standings. Don't subject yourself to the pressure of unrealistic expectations. Many of the regions finest shooters compete at ONSP every month. But neither do you need to be intimidated. These great shooters are also great people who remember what it was like getting started. Most of the finest shooters went through this learning curve which involved finishing in the lower part of match standings until they refined their skills. The game is FUN. Play it for that reason. If your sole desire is to finish first, you may find it unsatisfying. Do your best. Play safe. Have a good time and know that experience and practice will make you more competitive.
Depending on the weather and time of year, an Old North State Posse monthly match will have between 35 and 60 shooters (we have had as many as 80) competing. Matches are typically comprised of 6 stages. You are typically going to shoot 10 pistol rounds, 10 rifle rounds and 4 - 6 shotgun rounds per stage. It is suggested that you bring about 100 rounds of pistol ammunition, about 100 rounds for rifle, and 50 shells for your shotgun. You can't have too much. Since we are shooting steel targets, all pistol and rifle ammo is lead bullets only - no jacketed bullets. This does not require higher powered loads. Shotgun shells should be be size 6 shot or smaller - most use 7 to 8 shot size.
You must have hearing and eye protection. No one is allowed in a shooting bay without these.